Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 May 2016, 11:51 GMT

Saudi Arabia: UNICEF chief voices concern over eight-year old girl's marriage

Publisher UN News Service
Publication Date 13 April 2009
Cite as UN News Service, Saudi Arabia: UNICEF chief voices concern over eight-year old girl's marriage, 13 April 2009, available at: [accessed 25 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The head of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) today expressed her deep concern over reports that a Saudi Arabian court has ruled that the marriage of an eight-year-old girl is legally binding.

"Irrespective of circumstances or the legal framework, the marriage of a child is a violation of that child's rights," UNICEF Executive Director Anne M. Veneman stressed in a statement.

"UNICEF joins many in voicing concern that child marriage contravenes accepted international standards of human rights," she added.

She noted that the right to free and full consent to marriage is recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but that "consent cannot be free and full when either party to a marriage is too young to make an informed decision."

Ms. Veneman warned that marriage at too young an age could have long-term harmful effects on a child's emotional, physical and psychological welfare.

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